Policies and programs that address customer end uses of energy are critical for achieving greater energy efficiency within the electric and natural gas utility sectors. States use ratepayer funds to administer programs that advance the deployment of energy efficiency in numerous sectors, including residential and commercial buildings, industry, and public institutions. States use different models to administer ratepayer funds, allowing utilities to run programs, utilizing a third-party, or blending these models.
The policies that underpin these programs include utility regulation and legislation that guides state efforts to advance energy efficiency. Regulations can provide utility incentives to pursue energy efficiency and compensate a utility’s lost revenue from energy efficiency measures in a process known as “decoupling”. State legislatures can prod utility commissions to adopt these regulations with explicit legislation. Another major policy states can adopt is the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which requires utilities to annually save a certain percentage of energy over a multi-year period.
The ACEEE Utility database pages primarily address the electric sector as it has historically been the main focus in most states for program funding and initiatives. We include less information on natural gas sector policies and programs as these are often interwoven or otherwise closely related to electric sector policies and programs. Some states also have well-established efficiency programs for both electricity and natural gas. In future editions of these summaries we plan to include similar information specifically about policies and programs in the natural gas sector.
Click a state to view its utility regulation policies.